Libya

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Back to Old Tricks? Italian Responsibility for Returning People to Libya

On 10/11 May 2017 various news outlets reported a maritime operation by the Libyan authorities, in coordination with the Italian Search and Rescue Authority, in which 500 individuals were intercepted in international waters and returned to Libya. This operation amounted to refoulment in breach of customary international law and several treaties (including the Geneva Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights), and an internationally wrongful act is one for which Italy bears international legal responsibility. According to reports, the migrant and refugee boat called the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCCC) whilst it was still in Libyan territorial waters. MRCC contacted both the Libyan coastguard and an NGO vessel (Sea Watch-2) with the latter sighting the boat after it had left Libyan waters and was in international waters. During preparations for the rescue, the NGO boat was informed by the Italian authorities that the Libyan coastguard boat which was approaching had “on scene command” of the rescue operation. Attempts by the NGO vessel to contact the Libyan authorities were not picked…

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The Legal Protection of Mass Graves

Mass graves have been found all around the world, in Uganda, Burundi, The Philippines, Nepal and India. Yet, there is no definition of the term ‘mass grave’ in international law. Our common understanding is derived from pictures of history and news reports according to which ‘mass grave’ describes a site containing a multitude…

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The Use of Force against ISIL in Libya and the Sounds of Silence

As acknowledged by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2249 (2015), ISIL constitutes ‘a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security’. At least in part, the unprecedented nature of this threat can be attributed to the fact that, in addition to the swathes of territory held in Iraq and Syria, ISIL maintains a presence in various…

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The (Non-)Judicialisation of War: German Constitutional Court Judgment on Rescue Operation Pegasus in Libya of 23 September 2015 (Part 2)

Editor’s Note:  This is the second of two posts discussing the ‘Rescue Operation Pegasus’ Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court. 4. Assessment The legal reasoning of the German Federal Constitutional Court in the Rescue Operation Pegasus Judgment is quite obviously inspired by the desire to avoid impractical results. It is somewhat in…

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The (Non-)Judicialisation of War: German Constitutional Court Judgment on Rescue Operation Pegasus in Libya of 23 September 2015 (Part 1)

Editor’s Note: This is the first of two posts discussing the ‘Rescue Operation Pegasus’ Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court. In the middle of the civil war in Libya in 2011 (before the start of the UN authorised military operation), the German Chancellor, following the proposals made by the Ministers of Foreign…

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